When we left off, I hadn’t yet recieved Cervadil and was tolerating the misoprostol contractions pretty well. After my next check around 7pm, the nurse administered the Cervadil and we waited to see how things would progress.
Right around 9pm, I decided to take her up on the offer of Ambien so I could get a decent night’s sleep. Of course, immediately after taking the Ambien to put me to sleep, my contractions became a lot more regular and much harder to manage. I wasn’t crying or anything, but after a while I was having to really focus on breathing through them and (I think since they were artificially started) I wasn’t getting decent breaks in between them. After talking with the nurse, we decided it’d be a good idea to let me get in the jacuzzi tub next door.
She filled up the tub and she and Daniel helped me into it. It felt SO NICE. I felt pretty loopy by this point, since I was really, really sleepy from the Ambien but I had to stay awake to be in the tub and not drown. I sipped on some cool water and hung out in the tub for a while, holding Daniel’s hand.
The tub felt great… until it didn’t anymore. I started having a hard time breathing through the contractions in the tub and was SO exhausted and sleepy and long story short, I opted for the epidural. I’m a little unclear as to the passage of time through all of this, but I think I got the epidural at around 3am. The anesthesiologist man was very nice and explained things clearly so I knew what to expect. They numb the area beforehand which was a little pinchy, but after the epi catheter went in, contractions felt great! I could see myself having them on the monitor but they didn’t hurt at all.
What they failed to tell me at the time was that I had a little button to press to continue administering the epidural medication. So, sometime the next morning, I noticed that I was starting to have to focus and breathe through contractions again. I asked the nurse if it was normal to being able to feel contractions through the epidural and that’s when I was told about the button. Argh.
I kept pressing it, hoping it would bring the medication level back up to the point where I didn’t have to really focus on the contractions, and it helped but it never quite got there again.
Since the baby was still in kind of a weird position, the midwife wanted to break my water to see if that plus the contractions (and some belly maneuvering) would get the baby to move further into my pelvis. Since I already had the epidural, I didn’t feel anything but I also didn’t really look at what they were doing since that crochet hook thingy kind of scares me.
They broke my water and skooshed the baby around a bit and got him to move closer to where he should be. (They were trying to avoid a cord prolapse since he was so high up initially.)
Once you have the epidural, you can’t really get out of bed to use the bathroom so they give you a catheter and your pee goes into a container so they can check your urine output.
Late morning rolled around and I was still having regular contractions and had dilated to a 5 (halfway). However, I guess after several hours (and lots of IV fluids) my kidneys hadn’t managed to produce any urine. This is bad bad bad. I’m not really sure if I just overheard the nurses talking about this or whether they told me outright, but I remember thinking, hmm… that’s not good.
Then… everything went really, really fast.
The midwife on call came in to talk to me about options. This happened to be the same lady that called me at 36 weeks trying to get me to come in and be induced that night, whom I hadn’t met prior to that phone call. I was… not stoked about this.
I don’t remember now what all the talk entailed, but she told me that the baby had moved back out of position, my kidneys were crap, my bloodwork was crap, my water had already been broken and there was no point in having me continue to labor especially if my organs were not working and they would like to take me in for a c-section.
I burst into tears.
She kept talking to me about it and about how it’s the best thing to do at this point and we must consider the health of the baby and blah blah blah. I just sobbed. Mostly I think I was just scared, and kind of sad that absolutely nothing about this birth was how I envisioned it happening.
As she was talking, more and more people were filing into the room. I was handed a consent form to sign saying that I would allow them to cut me open. I scribbled a signature. Nurses were changing the bags of IV fluid and a different anesthesiologist came in to administer whatever kind of stuff they use for c-section numbing (a spinal?). Daniel was handed scrubs and told to change. Finally, the midwife asked if I had any questions and I squeaked out, “Can I call my mom?”
At that point, my parents were driving in from Idaho and were about halfway to Portland. We had been keeping them updated with text messages and the occasional phone call, but by that point I was too far gone to even think about talking on the phone so I ended up having Daniel call them. I think he had to leave a message on voicemail, and oh god what a horrible thing to have to listen to – “Hi, your daughter is going in for major abdominal surgery! Um, hope you get this message!”
I was wheeled out of the labor and delivery room to the operating room. Daniel was instructed to stay outside the door while they prepped me for surgery, and all I remember about the room was that it was chilly and there were giant round lights on the ceiling.
They put the blue sheet up in front of my face and brought Daniel in to sit next to my head. I was really, really jittery. My chin was shivering and my shoulders and arms were too. I couldn’t control it and I remember being really irritated by this. (Apparently, this is pretty common, but nobody told me it would happen or what was happening to me.)
What I did know about c-sections is that there is a lot of tugging and pulling, it’s just that you can’t feel it. I am SO GLAD that I knew about this beforehand because holy jeeze, I would have been so freaked out. They really yank you around. I felt lots of pulling and pushing and then I felt the exact moment they took the baby out because I instantly lost about 10 pounds.
Immediately after I felt him come out, he started crying. You know how when someone makes fake crying noises and says “Waaah! Waaah!” and people laugh because really, who cries like that? NEWBORN BABIES, that’s who. That’s exactly what he sounded like!
I saw them carry the baby over to my left and start working on him. They had Daniel watch the baby while I was sewn up and I kept trying to get his attention to tell him to GET THE FREAKING CAMERA OUT OF HIS POCKET which finally worked so we do have some brand-new baby pictures.
His APGAR scores were 9 and 10. Winner baby! He weighed 6 pounds, 14 ounces and was 19 inches long. Pretty good for being three weeks early!
I was wheeled into a postpartum room and started on magnesium sulfate to help my body recover from the preeclampsia. My mom (who is a labor and delivery nurse) warned me that they might want to put me on it and said it’d make me feel like I got hit by a truck. Mom was right.
I felt super gross and threw up into a plastic container several times, even though I hadn’t had anything but ice chips to eat for practically a whole day. I ate some strawberry jello later and threw that up too, but that wasn’t as bad. I don’t remember a whole lot from those first post-surgery hours – practically the next thing I remember is my parents showing up around 4 or 5pm and heading straight for the baby.
It was around this time that Daniel and I decided to officially name Baby. I had been lobbying for “Wesley” for a couple of weeks, mostly just because I liked it. It was one of the few where I could envision myself with a kid by that name. Daniel’s middle name is Leif, and both of us have always liked that name a lot so the middle name was actually very easy.
We spent a lot of time with Wesley on my chest in just a diaper, snuggling. We tried breastfeeding and he took to it well, but we saw some lactation consultants anyway. He had a habit of getting super worked up before feeding and would forget why he was there or what he was supposed to be doing. We ended up enticing him with a bit of sugar water, which did seem to help. Later one of the lactation consultants had me start using a nipple shield to help him latch on easier. I have mixed feelings about this, since it kind of sucks to have this extra thing to remember to bring places, but it does make Wesley much happier and a better eater, so it’s an okay tradeoff.
We had several visitors in the hospital, including my parents, Daniel’s dad and stepmom, my cousin and her two kids, Daniel’s boss and his ladyfriend and their kids, and our friends Callie and Josh.
Wesley’s first night was an adventure. C-section babies don’t get skooshed very much when they’re born, so they tend to have more fluid left in their lungs that they urp out over the course of a few days. That first night, there were FOUR SEPARATE INSTANCES of CHOKING EPISODES where I woke up to my baby aspirating his own spitup FOUR FEET AWAY FROM ME in his bassinet, with me immobile in a hospital bed, unable to reach him to turn him on his side. Talk about traumatic.
Unable to wake Daniel up from across the room, I used my nurse call button. When the nurse answers or hangs up, it (fortunately for me!) makes a loud clacky noise which woke Daniel up and of course by this time Wesley was totally fine, but we checked him out anyway and had the nurse check him out when she got there a minute later. Gah.
I slept in five minute increments that first night. I woke up to every snuffle, squeak, or movement. On the bright side, I had the kind of night where five minutes seems like it takes 45 minutes so I still felt pretty good in the morning.
We spent Wednesday the 24th through Sunday the 28th in the hospital. I was told I’d be discharged at 10am, but the lactaction consultant I saw was freaking out because Wesley had a bunch of dirty diapers early on and then didn’t really have another for about a day, even though he had many wet ones. I was not freaked out by this, as I know that breastfed babies tend to have weird pooping habits, but they insisted we come into the lactation clinic the next day for a weight check to make sure he was actually eating enough. What they really wanted was for me to stay another night, but UGH. I just wanted to go home!
As part of the discharge procedures, they removed the staples from my incision and replaced them with steri-strips. The OB doctor who performed my surgery came by to check out my incision and declared that it looked great, so I was cleared to leave. I also had to be transported to the doors in a wheelchair due to the hospital’s liability rules.
My dad brought the car around and Daniel put the baby’s carseat into the car and we drove off!
For a couple weeks afterward, I cried anytime anybody asked me about the c-section. I’m still not totally sure why, but I think it was just because I didn’t really think it would come down to that and I was kind of surprised that it did. In the hospital, I was under the impression that things were going swimmingly even though I was sick, and I’m not sure if that’s because I wasn’t told how sick I was or because I just didn’t understand. A few weeks out, with my two-week postpartum visit completed, I’ve come to the conclusion that I was a lot more ill than I was made aware of at the time. I understand why the c-section had to happen and I don’t feel like a failure at all. I was just sad that it went that way.
I also cried anytime I thought about my parents visiting, because my mom did helpful motherly things like drying me off after my first post-surgery shower when I couldn’t do it myself, and helping me use the bathroom and putting a pad in my hospital-issue mesh underpants for me. THANKS MOM.
Overall, absolutely nothing about Wesley’s birth went how I envisioned it. I didn’t want to be induced, I didn’t want to have an epidural, I didn’t want to be stuck in my bed while laboring, I didn’t want a c-section. That said, I don’t have negative feelings about his birth either – it went in a totally unexpected manner but he’s here and healthy and that’s what matters.